August 24, 2020  | Updated: July 19, 2021

Category: Continuing Education


  • COVID-19 has bolstered importance of Continuing Medical Education
  • Allows for building upon specialized skill sets
  • Courses can be taken online similar to new model for traditional education

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape various aspects of people’s lives, those who are in school to become a part of the medical community as well as those already working in health care are changing how they advance their respective careers.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) has always been a part of any working health care professional, as it is needed for license renewal, improved patient care, career advancement, and a whole host of other important reasons. However, this unique form of online medical education courses offers an opportunity for specialized learning. Health care providers of all specialties have turned to CME for courses specifically related to the pandemic as well learning skill sets that may not have previously been a part of their career.

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education is one of the primary organizations that has stringent guidelines to ensure CME courses meet the necessary health care industry standards.

Accredited CME is designed to be relevant to the needs of the health care professional: practice-based, and effective. Participation in accredited CME also helps physicians meet requirements for maintenance of licensure, maintenance of certification, credentialing, membership in professional societies, and a variety of other professional privileges.  Take a course now!

The ACCME as well as the American Medical Association define CME as “educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession. The content of CME is that body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine, and the provision of health care to the public.”

The ability for physicians, nurses, and various other health care specialties to take accredited courses on their own schedule is what makes CME so valuable for both the provider and the patient.

READ MORE | CME: It’s Not Only For License Renewal

Continuing Medical Education is a win-win situation for a health care provider’s career advancement, the reputation of a medical facility, and the quality of patient care. Since a variety of classes can be taken online with credit hours tracked and stored similar to traditional medical education courses, CME can offer a unique model for those who are currently in medical school.

Medical schools across the United States are adapting their plans for education in order to adjust to the “new normal” created by the pandemic. With some traditional higher education institutions going completely virtual for undergraduate students—medical schools will be going digital in an unique format. General classes as well as the type of clinical care students are learning about will shift to the online realm—presenting an opportunity for utilizing coursework that may already be created and in use for the CME realm.

Continuing Medical Education and Telehealth:

Within the past several years and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the advantages of telehealth and telemedicine are rapidly moving to the forefront. Congress included $500 million for the use of telehealth services in its emergency COVID-19 aid package passed toward the beginning of March of 2020. While the changes mostly involve primary care, experts said the telehealth trend is increasingly applicable to specialists. Mental health services are needed now more than usual, and psychologists and psychiatrists have using telehealth to treat their patients.

With telehealth becoming a new standard of care during the pandemic, it is also becoming incorporated into medical education at a much larger scale than ever before. Both students currently enrolled in medical school and physicians who may have already been in practice for years are learning about telehealth best practices for the optimal patient experience.

What Lies Ahead for Continuing Medical Education:

Similar to many changes in the health care industry and our daily lives as a whole, it is quite possible that some are going to become the new standard in medical education.

Industry experts largely agree that the expansion of telehealth services as well as its popularity with patients is here to stay—consequently causing its instruction to become a new standard of medical education both in traditional schooling and as an available CME course.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought to light how essential it is that students in medical school are educated on topics such as epidemiology, crisis response and public health. Fortunately, for everyone that is already within the workforce, no matter the stage of their career, CME offers options for them to expand their skillset and knowledge base on specialized topics such as these.

On average, physicians spend four years in medical school and three to five years in residency. For the rest of their careers, physicians rely on accredited CME as one of the support systems that helps them drive improvements in practice and optimize the care, health, and wellness of patients.

As the digital transformation of medicine shows no sign of slowing down, health care providers in all specialties must adapt their methods of practicing medicine, and how they consume information such as CME, to keep up with this trend.

Physicians are slowly beginning to adopt new digital tools, however research has shown that a lot of technology is already being used by patients themselves. Telemedicine devices such as wearables which measure heart rate, oxygen levels, and glucose levels are being adopted by the patients before the providers and will soon become an indispensable aspect of health care.

With this rapid development of medical devices at the patient level, providers must ensure their knowledge base is relevant as to how they can incorporate the technology into their scope of practice. Since Continuing Medical Education courses are continuously created and updated, health care organizations should consider allowing physicians to spend a portion of their CME budgets on courses that focus on the digital transformation of medical care.

The primary benefit of online CME is the reduced cost. Health care providers don’t have to pay for travel and accommodation when they take online courses.

Selecting the most beneficial online CME course does not have to be difficult, but it should be done so in a manner that it will make sure you accomplish your career objectives. Intiva Health’s Ready Doc™ Learning allows you to access hundreds of free, ACCME-accredited CME / CEU courses for nurses and physicians on any device. Simply filter by accreditation, state, and more than 20 different professions to quickly find what you’re looking for. The platform also allows you to keep track of the credits you have earned and print certificates.

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